Thailand and Singapore enable cross-border QR code payments. Source: Shutterstock

Thailand and Singapore enable cross-border QR code payments. Source: Shutterstock

SCB enables cross-border QR code payments between TH and SG

SOUTHEAST ASIA has seen a surge in QR code-based payments over the past year or so.

And while cross-border payments via QR codes are still rare — it seems as though a partnership between Thailand and Singapore has broken new ground in digital payments.

The QR code is a square-shaped information matrix made up of lines and squares that runs vertically and horizontally. Compared to the traditional barcode that can only code data in a linear fashion, more information can be stored in a QR code as a result of its complexity.

Like any form of cashless payments, QR code-based payments reduces the risk of theft as there is a lesser need for cash on hand.

Compared to other cashless options such as credit or debit cards, the cost per transaction of QR payments — being digital in nature — are significantly cheaper.

Setting up a QR code-based payment system is quite simple too because there is no need for the purchase of specialized equipment, making it an accessible option for SMEs in Singapore as well as in Thailand.

With the current consumer base being more tech-savvy, QR code-based payments ease of use and flexibility helps generate revenue by delivering a better experience.

The new arrangement between Thailand’s Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) and a fintech partner in Singapore recently helped enable cross-border QR code-based payments in both countries.

Consumers with Thai mobile wallet apps can now use them to make purchases with participating merchants in Singapore.  There are also plans to create new value-added services to allow for a seamless real-time payment experience through a digital platform.

QR code-based payments show that businesses, especially SMEs, are ready for the digital age. As a result, business owners should fully embrace using QR code-based payments.

Financial institutions also ought to model SCB, and take initiative to work with mobile wallet providers to provide cross border QR payment services to a wider audience.

In the future, as Asia makes more payments with smartphones, the adoption of QR code-based payment methods will soar and businesses that are prepared will reap great rewards.